Swearing off your 'swear by' products
Edgar Rice Burroughs once described humans as 'creatures of habit', which is not really something I believed to apply to me. I definitely work hard to give off that attitude of being adaptable, spontaneous and open to trying new things, however if I'm being completely honest the sad reality is that habit is inherent in us all.
There are many things in life whereby habit and routine is needed in order to achieve success, yet there are other areas of life where habit can restrict us from new opportunities and personal development. As I like to say, the secret to life is everything in moderation, which is the new found approach I've taken when it comes to shaking up certain bad habits that I've embedded deep within my daily functioning.
Now when it comes to our beauty regime I believe we are completely and utterly creatures of habit. I may be speaking out of line here and many of you reading this will disagree as you apply to your beauty bag purchases the same adventurous approach you apply to your life. In which case, save yourself some time, stop reading now and resume your daily activities. For those that agree, stick the kettle on and read below...
For me, I think it's safe to say my beauty bag has consisted of the same 8 products for at least seven years. It all starts with the dreaded teenage trends where you buy things that don't match your complexion, suit your skin type or make you look like any version of yourself. It's safe to say I'm envious now of the 16 year old MUAs that avoided the dreaded blue mascara, foundation lips and glittery eyeliner phase. Luckily once you've escaped that warped approach to beauty decisions, you start to find products that nourish your skin, compliment your complexion and make you feel good about how you look. That's when the habit really kicks in and your reliance on those products can last a lifetime. The question then is "Why fix something that ain't broken?"
The thing is, it may not be broken per se, as on the surface all is well, however there are definitely underlying cracks and factors to be aware of before rushing to re-order the same foundation or moisturiser you've used for the last five years. After taking some time to learn about the truth behind the beauty industry, it's safe to say my approach to beauty decisions has changed for good.
Rather than preach to you about how you need to go away, source articles and do your research I thought I'd make life easy, save you some time and let you in on the nasty secrets that I found. I'll avoid this from being a beauty bashing moment and just highlight some important factors to consider when making your next purchase.
Firstly, let's talk about the wider picture - the consequences of climate change. The bad news is that it's real people and not just some rumour created to increase the share prices of plastic alternative manufacturers. The good news? There's still time for us to turn things around, reduce the effects and develop a brighter future for those to follow.
Did you know toxins in cosmetics damage the environment after they are washed down our sinks? This is because the chemicals in many mainstream cosmetic products don’t break down and build up in our ecosystems before ending up in our oceans, lakes, streams, rivers, and water supply. If you're not overly fussed about the well being of our sea life or one for regularly taking a dip in the ocean, I'm afraid there's still no avoiding the effects as the water evaporates into the atmosphere, re-accumulates into clouds, then re-liquefies and returns to the earth as rain- contaminating our soils with toxic chemicals. That's some pretty heavy stuff!
The simple solution is that if the chemicals on the back of your products sound like something you used to set alight with a bunsen burner then it's very likely that they're toxic and should be avoided. Instead look for brands that source organic ingredients locally. You'll get extra brownie points for doing so as not only are you reducing the amount of chemicals in our ecosystem but you'll also be supporting local businesses. Two for the price of one you could say!
Now let's think of the lovely packaging that those products come in. Can you recycle them? Do you recycle them? Zero Waste Week, an annual awareness campaign in September for reducing landfill, reports that more than 120 billion units of packaging are produced every year by the global cosmetics industry. The cardboard that envelops perfumes, serums and moisturisers contributes to the loss of 18 million acres of forest each year. I'll admit I have no idea what 18million acres looks like so to put that into terms we can easily understand, if this level of consumption continues, by 2050 there will be 12 billion tonnes of plastic in landfills which is equivalent to 35,000 Empire State Buildings. That's something to think about on your next trip to New York.
Sustainable beauty brands are doing wild and wonderful things now when it comes to packaging. Many of them focus on using recycled materials, whilst others source their packaging from natural sources such as corn, seaweed and mushrooms. Using your favourite veggies might be a little whacky for you to get your head around so start with brands that are at least using recycled materials and ensure that all the components of your packaging won't end up in landfill.
Ok, ok enough about the products time to talk about you. I recently read "Not just a pretty face" by Stacy Malkan and wow...there was so much information to digest that had never even crossed my mind before. If you ask the friends I spent a weekend with after reading it they'll tell you I wouldn't stop talking about it and I tactically managed to divert most conversations onto the facts I discovered. As a newbie to sustainable beauty, I'd definitely recommend it as a must read and will likely dedicate one of my next blogs to it as it really was super insightful. Anyways, the point I'm getting to is that of course these chemicals are bad for the environment, however if they're bad for our soil just think of the impact they have on our bodies. The beauty industry is not yet regulated to the standards it should be and as a result dangerous chemicals easily make their way into our shampoos, foundations and deodorants that have long lasting negative effects. These effects are mainly linked to cancer, infertility and health problems for children. It's so important to take care of yourself, and at the moment there is a lot of focus on nutrition and what is in the food we put into our bodies without a second thought for what's in the products we put onto our skin. It's time to shift that focus and look at both in tandem.
As I said earlier, it's important to read the back of the bottle. Is that the easy solution? Hmm.. I'd say no because that itself can be an effort and you'll likely spend hours on google trying to understand which chemicals are good and which should be avoided, likely to the point that you leave empty handed because it was just too stressful. An easier alternative is to shop at sustainable brands or multi brand retailers as they do a lot of the leg work for you. Like Vyable, they've taken time to research the brands and products to ensure they meet sustainable business practices and promote clean beauty to protect you and the environment. Happy planet, happy people, happy days.
Apologies if my intention not to rant did in fact turn into an unwanted rant, however the method behind my madness was to help you think a little more about the beauty products you currently 'swear by' and continuously tell your gals' whatsapp group to try and instead to take a little leap outside your comfort zone by trying products that will give you a glowing complexion, reduce the impact of the beauty industry on the environment and promote a healthier you.
Go on, give it a try and let me know your favourite new sustainable 'swear by' goodies.